Updated: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 10:32 AM EDT
Congressional candidates state their cases
Duncan, Rokita, Sanders participate in forum
by brian peloza
Three candidates vying to replace Rep. Steve Buyer in Indiana’s Fourth Congressional District appeared at an election forum Monday in Frankfort, touching on a wide range of topics in the hour-long event.
Libertarian John Duncan, Republican Todd Rokita and Democrat David Sanders all appeared at the forum, which was co-sponsored by the Clinton County Chamber of Commerce, radio station WILO and The Times .
Just two questions into the event, Sanders offered backhanded praise for Rokita’s opening statement, with regard to the budget he has operated with as Indiana’s Secretary of State.
“I was extremely pleased with it because it was actually factual,” Sanders said. “He, today, as opposed to the whole rest of the campaign, said that his taxpayer-funded budget was less than it was in 1987. That isn’t what he’s been telling people. That isn’t what was in the (Purdue Exponent on Monday).
“He’s been going around saying his total budget was less than 1987. That is in fact, a complete misrepresentation of the facts. His budget has more than doubled. It doesn’t really matter if some of it comes from fines and some comes from fees, his budget has more than doubled.”
Several questions from the audience were posed to the candidates, including their thoughts on the healthcare plan passed earlier this year by Congress.
“Most people are in favor of individual elements of the plan,” Sanders said. “For example, most of them are in favor of allowing parents to keep children on their insurance, it still costs and it’s not free insurance, but they’re able to keep them on until they are 26.”
However, Sanders said he understands many people are not in favor of individual mandates.
“I hear that enough from my constituents I would be willing to vote to get rid of that,” Sanders said. “That’s important to people and they look at it as infringements, so I would be willing to get rid of that.”
“I have pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Rokita said. “I don’t believe government can make decisions for us better than we can.”
Each candidate was asked what solutions can be used to erase the country’s $13 trillion debt.
Rokita said he wants to cut spending and force the government to balance its budget yearly.
“You’ve got to stop spending and that’s how you reduce the deficit,” Rokita said. “Among that is proposing a constitutional amendment to cap government spending at 20 percent of the GED.
“If every person in this room and every family in the Fourth District is having to live within its means, so should the federal government.”
Sanders said all options would need to be considered to reduce the deficit, adding he would vote for a net reduction in spending.